The Newest Great-Grandchild

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When I got to our daughter Hester’s house the other day, our youngest great-grandchild, Maya, was lying happily in the lap of Lily. Up till now Lily has been the youngest. That gentle supplanting happens to us all. Here Lily watches and perhaps understands. Maya, only two months old, has just registered on another smiling face, and Lily observes from the couch.

The three sisters, Emily, Julia, and Hannah, Hester and Len’s daughters, have taught me a lot in the last months about sisterhood. And it’s wonderful to feel the richness of people around us, spending time together, all ages, different relationships.

 

Days, This Week

image1 (3)Tom with one old friend, from graduate school days. This couple lives in Gresham.

image2And here he is with another old colleague. We went by their house Saturday and found them home. At the ends of all these long lives, it does take doing, making the date, driving across the city. But somehow it’s the embellishment and reaffirmation of friendship in the face of governmental chaos that’s important now.

All our younger friends and the three generations image3growing above us (this is our great-granddaughter, Lily, organizing the ducks and the loon by our wood stove) can probably barely imagine how we feel, but they help make it all possible. And we are grateful!

We’re also excited to learn that Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin will air on PBS American Masters on August 2 at 9 p.m.

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Welcomed by Family and Friends

PROGRESSIVE POSTS

Friday, May 17 – We’re just coming in to Rochester NY, breakfasted, beds out of the way, “Some of these farmhouses are lovely, porches around them, all wood. Haven’t seen a single brick one,” says Tom. We were asleep all the way through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania where those would have been. We’ll be glad to be in bed in a Springfield motel tonight.

unnamed (46)Saturday, May 18 – First day. Picnic (tailgate) with son Dexter and Keri at Oxbow Marina in Northampton where his daughter Clara was playing in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. The hills around were soft with new green and I asked Dex for that photo. We were right by a wood full of sensitive fern and the fiddleheads of wood fern, and at the other side of us were playing fields, tents, and hundreds of high school age men and women throwing Frisbees.

unnamed (44)Then they dropped us off for a nap, and grandson Griffin (red t-shirt, “Fund our Future”) picked us up at our motel and took us to their house, only a few minutes away, for supper. It’s lovely, sitting in the woods, with a beautiful (and weedless) garden. He and Heather have a sweet year-old corgi puppy, Leeloo. We had a warm summer evening, wonderful feeling.

Griffin is working as a carpenter, starts graduate school in September at UMass Amherst Labor Center. We’ll visit Heather’s HTWoodshop tomorrow.

unnamed (49)Sunday – We stopped at Heather’s shop on the way. Raining but then the sun came out. Such a good supper last night at Griffie and Heathers! Leeloo is of course sweet.

This was a stellar day, all together with Dexter and Keri, Griffin and Heather, Jewell, daughter of Tom’s brother Bill, and John, Bill’s youngest, and his wife, Beth. Complicated, I know.

Also there were Jewell’s daughter Zoe, and Jewell’s neighbor and friend, Lee Edelberg, the tall man some may not have met.IMG_2015

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Off We Go Again!

60354904_10213168951170709_289344202905485312_nWe’re heading east by train once again, visiting family and friends, and stopping in at the Smith College reunion next weekend – my 65th!

On Tuesday, May 14, we ate our supper coming up the Columbia Gorge, late sun slanted in under swirly clouds. When we drove up this way as newlyweds on the way east in 1954, Celilo Falls was still there. 

I’ve learned to order one instead of two and it was plenty. Box lunch since we don’t get the dining car till we join up in Spokane with our other half of the Empire Builder coming in from Seattle.

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Here we are stopped just briefly at the west entrance to Glacier Park.

IMG_2919Tom is tucked in down below, and I’m glad to report getting into the top bunk was not hard. I didn’t realize how much the exercising, change in diet, of the last two months had been in preparation for this trip, but just now, going five cars forward and up and down the necessary stairs to the dining car for breakfast, I knew! I never could have done that with the weight and lack of muscle strength I had in February.

 

FRIDAY MORNING
We do get tired by the end of a long day, and getting into my bunk, I sometimes think, “Are we crazy!?” But after a long night’s sleep, everything seems right again. We’re just going along the Erie Canal now, east of Rochester, looking forward to all the visits to come this week in that beautiful Connecticut River Valley we know so well.

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Saying Goodbye to My Sister, Liz

58373040_10219350002165196_5817300337895145472_oOn a day when it did not rain, and the air was soft, a group of us gathered on April 23rd at the cemetery to bury Liz’s ashes in earth that already holds many of our family members who have gone before. We sang and spoke and bid her goodbye. Tom had decided to wear his Cochran kilt in honor of Liz, and he looked dashing.

Friends Joan’s age came who had known our family since childhood. And it was good to be all together, even Dexter all the way from New York.

Julia and Hannah had taken the day off, Hannah carrying the unborn next generation.
Liz never did like taking walks, but several of the songs we sang are ones she sang with Joan, encouraging her while she walked to a restaurant, songs our parents sang to us in childhood.

As one of her caregivers wrote, “She was a lovely lady.”

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Liz Strong – Sept. 13, 1935 to March 19, 2019

IMG_4745My sister Liz died on March 19th in Pt. Townsend, WA, where she had been living since about 1969. She lived only some hours after a severe stroke. She was 83.

A memorial open house will be held for her at her home in Pt. Townsend on Saturday April 13th, and we will have a ceremony here in Portland when we bury her ashes at Riverview Cemetery on April 23rd.

Liz was beloved of many people. Everybody who knew her remembers her laughter and her wonderful sense of humor. She had a huge affection for family members and friends, for animals, and all the pets we’d ever had. And she understood, in a practical way, how the world works.

These recent pictures, taken during a visit by Tom and Jamie in February, give an idea of her. image1 (7)

Her nieces and nephews and grands- grew in their understanding of the many endearing qualities to be found in all “sorts and conditions” of people, as they interacted with Liz over the years.

This brings thanks to everyone who has sent messages of condolence, love, and understanding to us, Joan and Tom, and to our whole family.

Come See Our Show at RiverPlace

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pic1This exhibit, which will change slightly from month to month, holds pieces of the work of two lifetimes.

It is designed to be enjoyed peacefully, sitting down to peruse a book, looking at the underside of a piece of sculpture to see how it was put together, looking at a wall of paintings, watercolors, thinking of your own journals, sketchbooks, treasures.

We plan to be there for the opening reception on Sunday, March 10 from 3-5 p.m., and the other Sunday afternoon gatherings on April 14 and May 12. We hope to see you on any of those days.